Sesame Street
Plot The Wicked Witch of the West loses her broom on Sesame Street.
Air date February 10, 1976
Season Season 7 (1975-1976)
Sponsors I, Z, 9
This episode guide has been compiled from materials provided by a trusted source.

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Controversy

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The stated curriculum goals of the episode were to demonstrate fear and "the value of planning by creating and implementing methods of retrieving the broom."[1]

The episode prompted an unusually large amount of mail responses from parents, almost entirely negative, within a short time frame. Typical responses included parents concerned that their children were afraid and now refused to watch the show, using such phrases as "screams and tears" and "the threat of the witch's power remains in children's eyes." A somewhat atypical missive came from a self-proclaimed Wiccan, concerned with the perpetuation of a negative fairy tale stereotype and recommended a segment "portraying witches as they really are, now."[2]

Due to the overwhelming reaction, additional test screenings were held from March 1 through the 5th, "to assess children's reactions to the Wicked Witch of the West." The tests showed that children were "exceptionally attentive during the Margaret Hamilton segments," and those who watched the episode in color were fascinated by her green face. The issue of fear was difficult to fully judge, due to confusing answers and the fact that the children were surrounded by their peers and adults, and not alone watching. However, due to the parents' reactions, the letter content and testing observations, Anna Herera of the CTW Research Department suggested "that the Margaret Hamilton show not be re-run."[3]

Episode

Picture Segment Description
Noimage
SCENE 1 David observes how windy and cloudy it is today on Sesame Street. A broom falls from the sky, surprising David at first, but he picks it up, and starts sweeping up the street. The Wicked Witch of the West encounters him and demands her broom back. Recognizing who she is, and remembering what she did to Dorothy and Toto, David is hesitant to give her back the broom. The witch leaves, vowing to get her broom back somehow …
Toon.Inkbird
Cartoon I-Ink (angry bird)
(EKA: Episode 0514)
Noimage
Film (LA) Names and faces (Eng/Span) (0:51)
Song.Capital.I
Cartoon "I in the Sky"
(EKA: Episode 0427)
BertBettyLouIceSkate
Muppets Full-body versions of Bert and Betty Lou ice skate together.
3161s
Cartoon I - ice cream.
(First: Episode 0033)
Song.frogstruggle
Song Joe Raposo sings "Frog Struggle Song."
(EKA: Episode 0592)
3726.SandI
Animation Sand I / i
0926j
Film Cold things that begin with the letter I.
(EKA: Episode 0815)
Noimage
SCENE 2 Maria and some kids enter Hooper's Store, and ask David for a glass of water. The witch, hearing that Maria wants water, makes it rain inside Hooper's.
1261-LowercaseI
Cartoon A Gary Owens-voiced man attempts to discuss the letter I, but is jeered by an offscreen voice. The man uses him as an example of the word "impolite".
(First: Episode 0032)
Groverwaiteralphabetsoup
Muppets Waiter Grover: Grover brings Mr. Johnson a bowl of alphabet soup. Mr. Johnson complains that some of the letters are missing, and makes Grover run back and forth to the kitchen to bring the missing letters. When all the letters are there, Johnson complains that the soup is cold, and makes Grover take it back.
(First: Episode 0276)
LetterI.BeepBeep
Song Letter I (Beep Beep)
(EKA: Episode 0514)
9people
Cast No matter how you arrange these nine people, they're still nine people.
(First: Episode 0413)
2040d
Film Pizza is made.
Music: Joe Raposo
(EKA: Episode 0823)
2257zc
Cartoon I for iron
(EKA: Episode 0340)
WhoYouLookinAtTiger
Song David sings "Who You Looking At, Tiger?"
(EKA: Episode 0418)
Typewriter-I
Cartoon The Typewriter: I for Ink
Artist: Jeff Hale
Noimage
SCENE 3 David, Maria and the kids mop up the wet store. They tell Big Bird about the witch, and Big Bird picks up the broom, vowing to protect them from harm. The angry witch reappears, but can't touch the broom while Big Bird is holding it (like the ruby slippers). She leaves again, after threatening to turn Big Bird into a feather duster.
Toon.bigshoes
Cartoon What if I had big feet?
(EKA: Episode 0514)
1091-08
Muppets Ernie and Bert: Ernie is thirsty, and imagines that he's drinking nice cold water. Irritated, Bert tells him to go get a real glass of water. Ernie does, but then he annoys Bert by saying that now he's hungry. He then proceeds to eat an imaginary peanut butter and banana sandwich.
(First: Episode 0459)
Toon-Rowers
Cartoon Two guys row their oars in different directions, until they decide to cooperate and row together.
(EKA: Episode 0543)
GreenHandSpinTop
Film Jerry Nelson narrates a story about a green Muppet hand that learns to spin a top.
(First: Episode 0362)
Painter9
Film The Mad Painter #9
(EKA: Episode 0349)
400031
Cartoon Jazz #9
(First: Episode 0137)
Toon.3Cuckoos
Cartoon Three birds enter a cuckoo clock to do their job.
(First: Episode 0543)
Noimage
Film Cerrado (0:26)
Cookie Counter
Muppets Cookie Monster presents to Ernie his new device “The Cookie Counter” which will notify him of the quantity of cookies inside the box. Cookie Monster points “The Cookie Counter” rod to the box of cookies, which rings five times representing the amount of cookies inside the box. Ernie is impressed by Cookie Monster’s device and talks about the benefits the device provides to the audience, simultaneously Cookie Monster eats Ernie’s box of cookies. Ernie tests the Cookie Counter by pointing the rod at the box of cookies, the box doesn’t ring. Cookie Monster asks Ernie to face the Cookie Counter rod to his stomach; it rings five times as proof of the location of the five cookies.
(First: Episode 0552)
3154w
Cartoon A monster sees a box that keeps opening and closing, saying "Abierto" and "Cerrado."
(EKA: Episode 0817)
Noimage
SCENE 4 Oscar, upon seeing the witch, falls in love. The witch, meanwhile, disguises herself as a nice person. David introduces her to Big Bird, Maria and the kids, and invites her into Hooper's. She successfully gets the broom back and turns back into her old self. David feels foolish upon hearing that she would have left Sesame Street immediately if he'd just given her the broom. The witch fills up the store with brooms.
Toon.Up.Down.Up.Down
Cartoon Various demonstrations of DOWN and UP
RFES-UpDown
Muppets Roosevelt Franklin Elementary School: Roosevelt Franklin has his students stand up and sit down to learn about the opposites.
(First: Episode 0518)
1186s
Cartoon Cherries fall through a moving hole onto a man who demonstrates up and down.
Artist: Bruce Cayard
1186m
Muppets Muppet & Kid Moments: Herry asks John-John if he knows the difference between up and down.
(First: Episode 0565)
Updownbrothersister
Cartoon A boy leads his sister up and down a staircase.
Artist: Cliff Roberts
(EKA: Episode 0526)
1186z
Film Raposo: Up and Down. A man bounces a ball up the steps, and then it falls down the steps.
KidFatherBuild
Animation A kid's father tells him what can be built out of the wheels and things he found.
(EKA: Episode 0231)
HIYL.Bread
Muppets Here is Your Life: A loaf of bread is profiled.
(First: Episode 0709)
KidFatherBuild
Animation A kid's father tells him what can be built out of the wheels and things he found. (Spanish version)
(EKA: Episode 0277)
Film-EagleRoads
Film Kids comment over footage of an eagle's view of different kinds of roads.
Music: Joe Raposo
Toon.ZigZag
Cartoon Zig...zag...zoom...zoo.
(EKA: Episode 0307)
Noimage
SCENE 5 Everyone gathers to watch the witch leave. Big Bird is sad to see her go, but the witch is glad to be leaving.
ZforZipper
Cartoon Z for zipper
(First: Episode 0025)
Lookatthepenguinstakinabath
Film Penguins take a bath.
Music: Joe Raposo
(EKA: Episode 0440)
Toon.Z.climbers
Cartoon Two alpine climbers hike up a letter Z and stake a claim on it.
There's a Bird on Me!
Song Joe Raposo sings "There's a Bird On Me."
(EKA: Episode 0536)
Song.Capital.I
Cartoon "I in the Sky" (repeat)
(EKA: Episode 0427)
400031
Cartoon Jazz #9 (repeat)
(First: Episode 0137)
Noimage
SCENE 6 The witch flies away, but drops her broom again. Big Bird, noticing the mess from the wind, takes initiative to clean up the mess, but David, Maria and the kids have had enough brooms for today, so they leave him alone.

Sources

  1. "Wicked Witch to Drop Broom on Sesame Street." Chronicle-Telegraph. February 8, 1976
  2. Letter. February 10, 1976. Accessed at the CTW Archives.
  3. Memorandum. April 4, 1976. Accessed at the CTW Archives.


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